The Academy Awards are right around the corner and so, this week, BackStory heads to the movies. With Oscar-nominated films like 12 Years A Slave bringing the antebellum U.S. to the fore, and others like American Hustle or Dallas Buyer's Club presenting aspects of the more recent past, the American History Guys explore how well history is represented in this year's big contenders.
The 2014 Oscars Show (available for download, Friday, February 28).
In The 2014 Oscars Show, BackStory explores how Hollywood takes on history and the stories the film industry chooses to tell. Ed, Peter, Brian, and their guests consider the political context of the original Solomon Northup slave narrative and examine how certain kinds of narratives--like those dealing with captivity--show up again and again in American storytelling. And with several of this year's movies looking to recent decades, our hosts ask how facts and accuracy weigh up against dramatic imperatives, and whether movies can convey larger truths about history.
• Daniel Blake Smith, screenwriter and former University of Kentucky historian, on adapting history for the silver screen.
• Kristina Bross, Purdue University, on captivity narratives in American storytelling from the colonial settlers held captive by Native Americans,to the modern-day story of Captain Phillips.
• Mary Mitchell, University of New Orleans, on the use of slave narratives like Solomon Northup's 12 Years a Slave to aid the Abolitionist cause, and the various audiences at whom they were aimed.
• Mark King, AIDS activist, on the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and its representation in the movie Dallas Buyers Club.
• James Surowiecki, The New Yorker, on the history of America's obsession with swindlers, like The Wolf of Wall Street's Jordan Belfort.
BackStory is a production of VFH Radio at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. The weekly program is newscast compatible and there are no carriage fees. New episodes are uploaded to SubAuto/PRX and Content Depot on Friday afternoons.
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